Because, really, this fucking wolf from the Feb. 20 Week in Review section looks like some straight up Wolf Gang handiwork:
Like this shit:
... or maybe this "Sam Weber" is designing for OFWGKTA?
What happens when a total flake says some offhand shit about a couple of battle axes and then has to do a quasi-backtrack because the Worst Possible Thing You Can Do These Days is to let a "controversy" just fade away, because otherwise you're wasting an opportunity to have your name electronically spooged at defenseless people?
At the risk of appearing to defend The Madonna and The Lady Gaga, I find myself wondering why anybody listens to The Joanna Newsom.So, yeah, that means you, The Guardian. You might be the asshole here. Or maybe it's The Pitchfork. I feel so used.
From EW's Feb. 5 issue, in an article about why nobody has bothered to do another Fletch movie:
Gregord Mcdonald created the character of Irwin Maurice Fletcher while working as a journalist for The Boston Globe. The Harvard-educated Mcdonald joined the paper in 1966 and was given what sounds like the best job in the world -- or in journalism at least. "Go and have fun and write about it," his editor instructed him. "And if you end up cut and bleeding on the sidewalk, call the office." Over the next few years, Mcdonald reported from both sides of society's suddenly chasm-like generation gap, writing about John Wayne, war protesters, Vietnam vets, and On the Road author Jack Kerouac, with whom he went barhopping.
1. People used to get a paycheck for that? Shit, the '60s were a fuckin' fantasy land.
2. Which editor decided that EW readers need to be reminded who Jack Kerouac is?
There are many, many possible reactions to this ad: Disbelief that Imus still has a show; laughter at the fact that a business news channel hired him; general pity; complete indifference; and so on. Behold:
But here's what I'm thinking: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, GENIUS FOX NETWORK PEOPLE, FOR NOT MAKING ME LOOK AT AN ACTUAL PICTURE OF THAT NASTY OLD FART. The hat is skeevy enough, but I guess they had to put some sort of signature image.
Years ago we were happy to advance plenty of subscription money to Jane magazine, with the understanding that we'd accept the nifty rag into our home for several more years, even after Jane Pratt had turned it over to somebody who wasn't nearly as interesting. Then the Pratt-less Jane went away, and we started getting this piece of shit, because Condé Nast was, uh, kind enough to honor its obligations:
Fuck, what a shitty publication. I like looking at women's magazines. Media is media. But when I open this one, it feels like an endless sorority "friends" collage made by a batshit returning-adult student who still considers herself to be a hot, social co-ed. Except, y'know, it's not even interesting in an anthropological way. It's just batshit.
I think our Jane money is finally running out, though, because Condé Nast has been bombarding our mailbox with Glamour re-up offers. Fuck that.
Ditto for Maxim, which seems to be the replacement for Blender, another dead glossy that was absolutely the best in its small, increasingly irrelevant class -- and thus well worth the 10 bucks a year. I dunno how long Maxim is gonna keep showing up as a Blender proxy, but I keep thinking to myself: "This is slightly more useful than Glamour." And I probably think that way only because I'm a heterosexual dude. Still, though, shit is shit.
If I'm gonna listen to a talking head go off on some political/media/academia/insider shit, I want it to be this sassy every time, even if it's just a pissing match. Here I am now, entertain me. That said, I wouldn't want Ill Doctrine to roll the way Star & Buc Wild do. I can't fill my day up with hard-boiled haters. Only part of my day. Vid:
From the NYT:
Maybe the women are all hiding in the chic boutiques.
I'm no expert on Billy Corgan, but I've followed his entire career and I've liked some of his music. And if there's one comment I can make about him, it's that he's one of the *least charismatic* and *most geeky* rock frontmen of all time. So when you write that he "dialed back the rock-star charisma -- waaaaay back -- while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday" and he "could have been any old D.C. think-tank geek," you come off as kinda lazy and uninformed. Anyway, I'm here if you ever need me.
NBC4's slideshow proves one thing: Go anywhere in upper Northwest, and you'll see some lame-ass stone buildings, some satellite dishes, and a security camera or two.
I don't know you, John Paczkowski.
But if I did, I'd do you the favor of saying, "John, dear sweet friend, please don't write any more jackassy headlines that involve hip-hop references, even if your blog post is about a rapper."
Then we'd man-hug, and you'd be like, "I was just trying to be funny."
But I wouldn't say anything, I'd just glare at you.
If you tried to talk again, I would subtly shake my head as if to say, "this is non-negotiable."
Then you might begin crying. It's OK.
If you happen see these two men appearing in the same television news show, it is perfectly normal to have symptoms of elevated blood pressure, abdominal discomfort, hoof-n-mouth, swollen tongue, ass-ear, eye-fire, skin-crawl and/or scalp-drip.
NOTE: I like side-by-side mugshots to be editorially and visually balanced, but this set didn't quite work out that way. But the more I look at them, I kinda like the fact that Quest's skull is significantly larger than Sanchez's.
ADDENDUM: Yer Mom riffs on the softness of the 'Chez.
Today I was hoping to inhale a whiff of disruption, y'know, like when D.C. is gonna get two inches of snow and everybody buys out the Crystal Geyser shelf at the Giant because they're apeshit-afraid of death. Yeah, maybe there was an uptick of tension and lawlessness here and there -- like the dude who parked in the crosswalk outside my house. THAT SHIT ONLY FLIES ON SUNDAY, AND ONLY FOR GOD'S CHILDREN. Anyway, here's the official audit of how fucking stultifying the day was, relative to its potential: I fully -- but briefly -- entertained the urge of clown-strutting down Pennsylvania Avenue, standing below CNN's set on the Newseum rooftop, and repeatedly hollering, "FUCK YOU, GERGEN," for no other reason than it would make Frozen Wolf jealous. And a jealous Wolf is a thrilling and unpredictable Wolf, obviously.
UNRELATED ADDENDUM: In the shoe-toss video, I'd love to see a Fox PitchTracker box around Bush's head. Of course, PitchTracker was so shitty, it would show both shoes as balls, not strikes.
SUGGESTION: Back in the day, "Not Necessarily The News" would have shown the two tosses, then cut to a (staged) shot of the guy rolling on the ground, and he'd have three legs, and he'd be trying to get the shoe off the third leg to throw it.
A quasi-important, possibly unemployed mediaperson started The Daily Beast, which is -- oh no! -- as fusty and lame as Slate is, but it's newer, so that theoretically counts for something. The Daily Beast only lets black people write about hip-hop, unless the person writes short or writes about a Radiohead/Kayne mashup.
• Cherkis wrote about Mingering Mike, and also wrote a song for the article. That link has two files: The "making of" the track and the song itself. Classic.
• DC to BC has another mixtape from the mighty X.O.
• Citizen Mom is on Twitter.
• The Midnight Express has been blocked.
• Father Phawker writes in the Inquirer about white people and voting.
• Upset The Setup is pushin' The Package.
Because of Monday's holiday (and other reasons), your Pop Cesspool services will "slide" a day or two this week. Thus, Wednesday's Review (with a little Swedish flavor ), will probably appear Thursday or Friday.
In other news, I got some love from the Express 'bloid.
From the NYT's Sunday Business section:
ON an early Saturday morning about three weeks ago, Barry M. Meyer pulled a sheet of paper from the fax machine in his home office, inhaled deeply and held it up to the light of a nearby window.
The number on the fax was eye-popping: $66 million, plus change.
Ka-ching. The opening-day box office receipts for the Batman film “The Dark Knight” had just set a record. And for myriad reasons — including the late Heath Ledger’s delicious turn as the Joker — the blockbuster is still filling theaters on a pace that may land it just behind “Titanic” on the list of all-time, top-grossing films.
Mr. Meyer is the chairman of Warner Brothers, the Hollywood studio behind “The Dark Knight,” and the film has had its debut at a transformative moment for his studio’s parent, Time Warner. Link
What is this? 1992? I hope the FAX MACHINE holds up well for you, buddy. (Nearby, the newspaper reminds us that Peter Gabriel has gadgets and ideas.)
That I love the City Paper's neighborhood map? I'd even argue that it's better (albeit more parochial) than the "stan" map that ran on the cover of the New Yorker a few years ago. (The CP's neighborhoods issue, as a whole, is a classic example of "workin' well with what you got when the bossman orders somethin' up.")
Last time a senator had a brain problem, Doc Sanjay Gupta had a goofy-looking rubber model as his primary prop. Today, he did bust out that candy brain again. But later he was in front of a high-def screen, and he was gettin' all tsar-of-the-telestrator with it. Gotta love that spooky blue translucent brain with the throbbing pink parietal lobe. I'll check later to see if they post some vids.
Yeah, OK, hooray for the NYT and its article about the calculated proliferation of military brass on teevee. But you're an idiot if you really thought those ex-fightingmen were providing untainted and uncoordinated analysis. We've all seen enough shows and flicks of the "thriller/chiller/killer/exploder/Bauer" variety to know that Pentagon big shots hardly ever leave it all behind when they retire.
I'm a little disappointed, though, with the sartorial choices of those talkin'-head former officers. If we all know you're still part of the machine, then why, for the love of Jeezus, would you wear a Brooks Brothers suit on TV when you could get buck wild and drag out your old dress uniform, the one with the epaulets and ribbons and medals and saber and buttons and pistol and embroidery and boots and pocket watch? You earned that gear, man. Put it to good use!
OK, duh, newspaper and magazine sites still haven't figured out how to sell enough advertising. The real "duh," however, is the fundamental structure used to display the ads -- i.e. not the shape of the ads themselves, but the rigidity of news sites' overall layout. Take this massive piece about Pope Benedict XVI in the NYT mag, for instance. If you click through all 10 pages of the article, you're likely to see the Netflix and Porsche ads a couple of times, in the exact same spot on the page. It's easy to mentally edit them out, no matter how much animation they have. My brain knows to ignore them. In fact, I didn't know the ads were for Netflix or Porsche until I went back and consciously observed them.
In the print version (which I haven't seen, because we halted the papers for a couple of weekends), you'd probably follow the article over-and-around a varied layout of advertisements, all of which probably would appear only once in the magazine itself.
(Yes, I read the entire pope article.)
Anyway, I'd probably be more likely to look at those print ads, if only because of the element of soft surprise: The shapes and placements would be varied enough that my eye would be distracted on occasion. That rarely happens on the Web, except maybe when there's a Mac-vs.-PC commercial playing on a newspaper's home page. (And perhaps that's why it's such an effective campaign: The concept is easy to absorb in any format.)
Of course, there's an obvious reason why every page of that pope article -- and every other NYT mag cover story -- is laid out exactly the same on the Web: If you're running the New York Times site, it's too time-consuming and/or labor intensive to construct and maintain a separate layout for each page. So you're stuck with a template that permits a banner ad and a right-rail area with two other square-ish ads. I won't be clicking on any of that crap.
So, what's the solution? I say people with big brainz should develop some sort of layout-variation software that allows a highly automated site to alter its geometry from page to page without human effort. It wouldn't override stylesheets or other base-level design elements, just the layout. You could calibrate it to affect only multi-page articles, or only section fronts, or whatever.
It's almost necessary at this point: I'm completely turned off by animated Web ads, and I know I'm not alone. The second I see any motion, I think, "this is a hard sell, and I should ignore it." A good print ad -- a combination of an easily digestible image and a bit of mystery or artistry -- works so much better. It's not necessarily a distraction -- it's a pause in the content. So there ya have it: Varying the layout of a news site might eliminate the need for gimmicky, motion-packed ads. I'd be a good little consumer.
Get on it, people.
(I'm sure there's an academic paper on this topic somewhere. But you wouldn't read that, would you?)
My pals at the Washington City Paper asked me to distribute this:
Starting this week, we're featuring a new advice column by legendary musician and D.C. resident Bob Mould, who'll be fielding readers' questions about D.C. life, music, U Street gentrification, touring tips, workout tips, relationships, etc. The idea is to draw on Bob's expertise as somebody who knows the District and is a good storyteller: for an idea of where he comes from, check out his blog at modulate.blogspot.com. Nothing is officially off-limits, but he's not interested in addressing Trekkie-type minutiae about his past. ("I have a question about the microphone you used to record the vocals on 'Hardly Getting Over It'...")
We'll set up a dedicated address soon. In the meantime you can send questions to
Washington City Paper
UPDATE: The official address for questions is firstname.lastname@example.org
I wrote a year-end essay for the City Paper about music blogs. No hate was intended. The reax:
Over at the Elbows Music Blogger Community, some people got it, some people didn't, and some saw an opportunity for broader discourse.
A couple of people added it to del.icio.us. The comment by AreEmmKay is probably the best description of I was trying to achieve: an "ode and lament."
And the mighty Beaujon gives collective props. (But he edited the thing, so what else would he say?)
Other recent stuff from the pen of yours truly: I wrote blurbs about Clipse and Brightblack Morning Light for the CP's Top 20 poll. Click on the lil' "read more ..." links to find the blurbs. And here's my ballot.
Doc Sanjay has the worst freakin' gig today -- worse than anything he had to do in that hospital during Katrina. He's being confronted with an endless stream of suppositions and assumptions, and he has to sit there with that god-awful multicolored plastic high-school-science-class brain, trying to give reliable estimates of how soon Tim Johnson might be able to act like a senator again. I wonder if the Daily Show has its own plastic brain prepared for tonight's episode.
NOTE: The photo of the god-awful multicolored plastic high-school-science-class brain was added ex post facto, because it took me all afternoon to figure out how to do a good screen shot from the CNN video player. Turns out that I had to turn down the "Hardware Acceleration" under the "Troubleshooting" tab of the "Advanced" area in the "Settings" tab of the "Display" section of the "Control Panel." Annoying. Thank you, Mr. Gates.
ADDENDUM: If CNN actually provided an embed code for its videos, or gave a useful link (rather than an e-mail link that is cloaked or randomized or whatever), I would've put the whole video here, or at least linked to it.
The frickin' Economist cues up some simple advice about buying an HDTV:
To see this new high-definition content at its best, you need a television set that paints its picture with no less than 720 lines (and preferably 1080 lines) running across the screen from top to bottom. ...
But picture quality depends not only on line count. Broadcasters can beam their high-definition signals one complete frame at a time in a so-called “progressive scan”. Alternatively, they can use the old cheap-skate method of sending first only the odd lines in the picture for one frame, and then the even lines for the next frame, and so on.
The aim of “interlacing” like this is to trick the brain into thinking that it’s seeing the whole picture all the time, though only half is available at any instant. Unfortunately, the brain isn’t conned completely. Moving objects, in particular, tend to be seen as images with jagged edges. ...
Broadcasters have been pushing 720 lines progressive (720p) for high-definition sports programmes that include lots of moving objects, and 1080 interlaced (1080i) for everything else. Both, they say, are good enough for what they have to do.
But good enough is the enemy of better still. Anyone who has seen a 1080-line progressive-scan display knows there’s no comparison. And what the shills aren’t saying is that stunning and affordable 1080p sets are in the works. Those who buy HDTV models offering only today’s interim standards will be kicking themselves in six months.
Obligatory side reference: The Onion's Point/Counterpoint: According To The Economist NASA Is An Industrial Subsidy In Disguise/Oooh, Look At Me, I Read The Economist!
The Cesspool believes that most "odd news" is hardly odd, or news. Example: Next time you see a headline with the word "penis" in it, say to yourself, "of course that can happen to a penis" before you open the story. Your perspective will be more Cesspoolian. You will thank me.
However, if you open the story and you still find yourself saying, "holy shit, I can't believe that can happen to a penis!" ... it's probably "odd news."
Anyway, when I see "Girl Skates Under 40 Cars," and the video is as good as this, I start believing in life again.
So the question becomes: Is anybody going to write counter-counter-intuitive/anti-backlash-backlash columns about those two columns? The answer is probably yes, of course. This is football; our national brainpower is at its mercy.
I now remove myself from this Noam Chomsky moment to go check my fantasy team.
Many Brooklyn residents are seeking refuge from the
'hipster treadmill,' says one counselor.
'BROOK-ANON' PROGRAM TARGETS RECOVERING N.Y. HIPSTERS
NEW YORK (PCNN) -- A program modeled on 12-step recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous is offering support services to weary Brooklyn hipsters.
The "Brook-Anon" program allows young, trendy borough dwellers the chance "to get off the hipster treadmill and reclaim their own identities," said Susan Murray-Keeler, a youth counselor and co-founder of the program. "We help them to confront the emptiness inside."
Like AA and NA, Brook-Anon asks members to share their experiences and make a series of commitments on the road to recovery. But the focus is not on substance abuse or spiritual growth, Murray-Keeler said. "We work a little bit more from the outside-in," she said. "We might start by asking a hipster to abandon a certain T-shirt line or groom themselves in a more traditional way."
About a dozen hipsters attended a BA meeting last week in a church basement. The introductions would be familiar to anyone who has observed a 12-step program.
"Hi, I'm Jill, and I'm a hipster," said a thin 24-year-old woman wearing a snug white tank top, well-worn jeans and chartreuse Pumas. "I can't stop trying to be cooler than everyone else. It was a struggle to dress plainly to come here tonight. I know it's unhealthy, but I'm afraid that if I leave Brooklyn, my life will be over."
The group leader, who asked not to be identified, responded with a comment about the relationship between consumer habits and hipsterism. "When is the last time you opened up a Land's End catalog?" he asked. The woman did not respond.
Few Brooklynites have actually completed the program, Murray-Keeler said. "It's so new, and these kids are so entrenched, but they know they need help," she said. "A few of them are almost ready to sponsor other people in the program, but it's slow going."
The problem, she said, is that other hipsters are often glad when their friends drop out of the lifestyle. Carson Agyar, a Brooklyn-based psychologist, agrees. When a person commits to Brook-Anon, the backlash is often strong, and it can be alarming, he said.
"Hipsters are a different breed. They're not supportive in any way," Agyar said. "If you're a hipster, and your friend doesn't want to be in the scene anymore, you're going to be pretty happy about it. It's one less hipster that you have to compete with."
The result is that people near the end of Brook-Anon's 12 steps often regress when they realize that most of their relationships were based merely on a shared appreciation for boutique consumer goods.
"I kept saying to myself, 'I loved these people, so why is it so easy to move on?'" said one 22-year-old man. "I dropped out of the program for awhile and really got hipsterish, just searching for an answer. But I never found one. I recommitted, and I've been clean three months now."
Murray-Keeler said the program might be extended to parts of Queens, as well as other cities.
I quibble with you,
Mr. Sir David Frost. In your Feb. 12 interview in the New York Times Magazine, they asked you, "What would Nixon think of you taking a job with Al Jazeera?" Your answer:
He would certainly understand why I find it challenging because of his belief in the power of television. I remember during the interviews with him, President Carter was going on television one night with his address from the Oval Office. And Nixon said: ''That's right. That's right. That's what matters. It's the tube.''
I don't think Nixon "believed" in the power of television. He understood it. One understands the video medium deeply and instantly when one realizes that it amplifies the fact that one is pale and sweaty. Trust me, I know all about this.
CNN is showing an aerial shot of Coretta Scott King's gray hearse coming into the United States. The alarming all-caps text below says something like, "HEARSE CARRYING KING'S BODY CROSSES MEXICAN BORDER INTO U.S." If you didn't know that King died at a resort south of the border (I confess, I didn't read the obits), you'd instantly think that something horribly illegal or improper was going on. The scene -- all sunny-Cali-freeway and whatnot -- is a very O.J. kind of tableau.
OK, so maybe the assignment for the NYT's "Correspondents' Guide to the United States" was relatively bland, as in, "Give us a bunch of locations that would not scare off your average vacationer." But it's painfully obvious that Todd S. Purdum loves Georgetown, Chevy Chase and Bethesda, like, a lot (pdf). I'll fly with him on the Bombay Club, though. Nowhere else is imperialism celebrated with such relaxed panache.
The Philly one looks a little "duh," too.